In early March, mama bear instincts urged me to convince my son to drive 300 miles to my home in the remote foothills of the Eastern Sierra Mountains. The rumble of fear was still quiet, but bears know when to move, even from their winter slumber. It was the same instinct, impulse, and all things Ursa Major.
Get son home now.
My intuition was vague on details but strong on impulse. I laid upon Kobe hard facts of the lockdown, the panic coming, and the danger of being in a city for fear of spreading a virus without knowing it. I felt like I was shaking his roots clinging to his childhood hometown. “Make the mountains your home!” I wanted to cry. But like other moms navigating new roles with adult children, I let the words dissolve and didn’t trust they would bridge the gap.
But he came back to me.
At first, through the intensity of closeness, I walked on eggshells, treading into our past to heal and understand. We pressed into each of our wounds to clear out the debris of falsehoods and fill it with love. Wending through Aspen groves that stood like skeletons guarding the creek, we talked about what it means to be trustworthy, how to earn trust, and how to regain it once its lost. Sitting by a sweet fishing spot on a bend in the Owens River, we went deep into his childhood to right the wrongs. In the silence of pine trees covered in snow, we healed a decade of pain by letting go of the seeds that sprouted into a mountain that once divided us.
As the snow melted, we discovered how to better communicate by listening hard to each other and not giving up. We spoke politics, perspectives, spirituality, and positive psychology (one of his current college classes). He filmed a series of videos for me to illustrate the teachings in my books. It was a much-needed return to the Divine Feminine that his childhood was soaked in. He reminded me of the strong mother I had always been.
My confidence in the role model I provided for my son, grew as the daffodils began to show their yellow dress. I asked forgiveness for what I considered abandoning him by moving away to the mountains so soon after his high school graduation. He did not accuse me, nor blame me. We both had adventures and now we have been united. We agreed that life unfolded exactly as it should and that I did not need to feel the guilt and shame for disassembling the nest. Our love has blossomed like the bright green leaves unfurling on ferns, Aspens, willows in these verdant mountains.
We had a check off list of fun things to do: backpack, throw pottery, make music, look for wild horses, howl at the full moon, watch Harry Potter, knit, bake cookies, tie dye. We’ve done so many things we never dreamed we would have the time to experience that now we’ve created an extra credit list.
As long as this time with my son lasts, I am blessed that every day Kobe holds up a mirror for me to see the strong mother he never lost sight of or stopped believing in.